Vinyl collectors invest a lot in highly sought-after records, but many overlook the fact that it is important to invest in their proper storage as well. Otherwise, it is likely that they would get damaged over time because of careless handling.
Neo-Online gives a list of tips below to store and maintain your vinyl collection.
Clean them first
While it is not exactly necessary to clean the vinyl each time before playing it, it can certainly help in prolonging its longevity. You can easily find a small vinyl care kit at any record store. Just apply a couple of drops of the cleaning solution onto the brush and then move it in circular motions on each side of the record. If you don’t have a cleaning kit, you can simply use any lint-free cloth instead. Take note that only de-ionised water should be used for swiping off any marks on the record.
Slip the records into double sleeves
The original inner sleeve offers little to no protection, apart from just preventing the record from getting scratched when it is removed or inserted into the outer sleeve. The low-grade paper could be a source of dirt and acid, and is only likely to damage it. Hence, it is important to replace it with high-quality sleeves made of acid-free paper (that produces minimal static) or plastic, which can help to keep dust from collecting on your vinyl.
However, these are not enough — you will also need outer sleeves (usually made of plastic) to protect both the cardboard album cover and the record inside.
Select an appropriate location for storage
Don’t just chuck your records into any available space; there are a few factors that need to be considered first when exploring storage options. For instance, high humidity or frequent temperature changes can lead to mould and mildew, which can stain the sleeves and grow in the record’s grooves. Exposure to direct sunlight or bright lights can also damage the vinyl over time. Hence, it is advised to not store it near a window or radiator (especially since these areas can also be sources of water leaks).
Many people choose to store records in cellars or garages, but these are not suitable spaces as both the temperature and humidity levels can fluctuate here often.
Don’t stack them on top of each other
It is entirely up to you how you want to store your records once you have them enclosed in two sleeves and carved out some space for them. If you want to display your collection, you can organise the records on a shelf. This will also help you select and slide them out easily, whenever you want to play them. Otherwise, you can also opt for storage boxes and arrange your records in those instead. Avoid wooden containers or crates, however, as these may contain acids that may seep into the sleeves over time and affect the vinyl. Also, use dividers in-between; not storing them according to their different sizes can cause uneven pressure on each record that isn’t fully supported.
Whatever option you choose, it is important to remember to store them vertically instead of horizontally, otherwise those placed at the bottom of the pile would eventually get warped or damaged due to the pressure.
In conclusion, vinyl is a delicate medium that can easily get dented, scratched or scuffed due to improper storage. Thus, it is necessary to invest in effective storage solutions to extend their lifespan.